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'Bharat' Kumar returns

Thirteen years after Maidan-e-Jung, Manoj Kumar, who's known for his patriotic films of yore, is ready to make a comeback, not just as a producer-director but as an actor too. Roshmila Bhattacharya has the details.
Hindustan Times | By Roshmila Bhattacharya, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 18, 2008 12:02 PM IST

Thirteen years after Maidan-e-Jung, Manoj Kumar is ready to make a comeback, not just as a producer-director but as an actor too.

Ujjwal Singh, former assistant of Bhansali, has Sanjay Leela approached him to play a significant part in his Chal Chale.
"Yes, the subject was narrated to me and I have liked it. Now I've asked for a detailed sketch of my role. So I can study the character to see if I can carry it off convincingly I should be able to arrive at a decision in a day or two," he says.

The film revolves around a group of youngsters who are in the thick of examination fever. One of them, under pressure from his parents to excel academically, commits suicide. Shaken, his friends file a criminal case against his parents as well as the government for driving a student to his death.

Law and order
Mithun Chakraborty has been approached to play a lawyer. Manoj Kumar is in line for the role of the Supreme Court judge trying the case. Rati Agnihotri has also been spoken to.

The actor-producer-director known for his patriotic films of yore, states, "It's not a regular hero-heroine love story. It touches a topical issue that affects most families today. Parents impose their wishes on children, driving them to the brink."

Manoj Kumar is also ready to direct two projects: India in Amercia and Naukrani-The Indian Maid.The first one is about the lives of NRIs to be directed for an outside banner. Naukrani will be a home production.

India not Bharat
Does he plan to act in these films too? "It's India in America, not Bharat. So I don't have to be a part of proceedings," he laughs, adding that India in America needs stars and will kick off as soon as a couple of big names are signed.

For Naukrani, he has Vidya Balan in mind. "I met her at the Dadasaheb Award function. My office will get in touch with her secretary and if she's inclined to play the Naukrani, I'll give her a narration," he says.

"If that doesn't work out, I can always make the film with newcomers."

Sonny days
His son Kunal has been working on a script which he has narrated to his mother. "Once Kunal has lined up his cast we'll start the shooting. It should take him about two months," says the father.

The actor has also been working on an autobiography, Life and Death in Installments for the last 13 years but has no idea when the book will be out.

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